A few months ago a sweet friend (and neighbor) invited both of our families to her son and daughter’s Bollywood Birthday party. It was one of the best parties we have attended. They had wonderful food, music, dancing, and entertainment. I was returning to our table with a plate of food when all of a sudden I saw our (Christa and myself) gastroenterologist walking towards Christa. My first thought was, “What!!!! Why is our butt doctor here?”…I saw him walking up to Christa to say hello and was completely mortified (as was Christa). As soon as he walked away she turned bright red and we started dying… Apparently his wife is friends with our neighbor. For the rest of the night Dave and Brad kept joking that our doctor only recognized us as we were walking away….
I joked with Christa that night that we needed to do a blog about HOW AWESOME COLONOSCOPIES ARE!!! NOT!
First, we are too young (38) to be having to have colonoscopies, but that is our reality. Christa had to have one and they found lots of polyps, so then I had one and they found the same thing. She has to have one every year and I thankfully am now on the every other year track (after having 2).
I would not say we are experts by any means, but since the two of us have had a combined 5, we wanted to give you tips on how to survive it.
Before the tips, just know that 1 out of 16 Americans will get colon cancer and if caught early most will live…if not caught early, you only have a 5% survival rate. If your family has a history of colon cancer or polyps, do not wait until the recommended age of 50. It probably would have been very bad if Christa and I would have waited that long.
Smokers, drinkers, and heavy red meat consumers have higher rates of colon cancer. We have to get colonoscopies because of genetics. However, we have to limit our red meat consumption and drinking (we don’t smoke).
Question: What does the prep look like?
The day before your procedure you have to clean yourself out. This means that you can basically only eat clear liquids. In the evening you will drink the first concoction that will cause you to be in the restroom. A few hours later you will drink the second concoction. You will know that you are near the end when your restroom goods are clear… Sorry if this is tmi.
Tip #1. You MUST FOLLOW the instructions.
The doctor puts you under and your inside must be CLEAN! I asked my doctor how many people don’t follow instructions (1 or 2 out of 10). Do not be that person because they will have to stop the procedure, tell you are a dumb ass (indirectly) when you wake up and make you reschedule.
Tip #2 Start easing off of the heavy food (steak, greasy fried chicken) the day before your prep. This will just help you with your prep. If I was having my colonsocipy on a Wednesday, on Monday I would be semi careful about my food.
Tip #3 Buy your “prep” food in advance.
The day before your procedure you are limited to what you can eat and drink. You want to have a game plan so that when it is around 1 or 2 pm and YOU ARE STARVING….you are prepared!
Tip #4 Schedule your procedure for early morning.
You will have barely eaten or drank anything with substance, and can’t eat before the procedure. If you schedule it for 10, 11, noon…you will be sorry! Schedule it for 7 or 8 am!!!
Tip #5 This is not the time to think you will lose weight!!!
Christa and I were stupid the first time and decided we were going to use this as a chance to lose a few pounds. We bought 10 calorie yellow jello and chicken broth. That was so dumb…We were miserable and did not make the same mistake the next time!!!!
Tip #6 No alcohol….You can’t do it…Even if it’s white wine, it could be very dangerous….Just abstain. It causes you to be dehydrated and is dangerous with surgery. You can abstain for one day.
Tip #7 Do not plan any social activities the day before your colonoscopy. This is dumb. I forgot I planned to host bunco at my house and didn’t want to cancel. Do not do this. Also, do not let others bring crazy good food into your house because you can’t eat it. During my first colonoscopy prep my parents showed up with fried chicken, ice cream, pecan sadness cookies, donuts, and soup….true story….
Tip #8 Start your prep earlier rather than later…My bunco night I started it late and was miserable….I was up until 3 am and had to be at the hospital at 6. Don’t start it too early, but don’t wait.
Tip #9 Bring magazines/reading material into the bathroom beforehand because you will be there for a decent amount of time.
Tip #10 Be prepared to have “accidents”…It’s like you are a kid again….just know that this could be saving your life….It’s not fun…but it’s doable…
FINALLY Tip #11..the BEST TIP!!!! Here is WHAT YOU CAN EAT!!!!!! I did not know about this list for my first time, but the second time was so much better!!!! Stock up and enjoy….don’t worry about the calories because even if you eat 5000 calories (impossible) you will still be ok.
You can have clear (yellow, white light colored) DO NOT EAT ANYTHING THAT IS RED OR PURPLE!!!!! THIS IS NOT ALLOWED AND YOU WILL RUIN YOUR COLONOSCOPY!
- Drinks (gatorade, lemonade, water, mountain dew)
- GUMMY BEARS (game changers)…I went to Kroger and found the candy by the pound. You can scoop out the light colored ones!!!
- candy (Worthers original, butterscotch) For me the game changer was finding out I could eat clear and light gummy bears and hard candy. Eating this just helped me get over the fact that I was STARVING!!!!!
My question for you…..Who is ready to get this party started!!!